September 15, 2023
Manatu Hauora develops racism action guide
The Health Ministry’s deputy director general Māori says work is well under way on addressing racism in the healthcare system.
John Whaanga this week updated the Medical council on Ao Mai Te Ra, a three year project which is attempting to put the health system under the scrutiny that Te Puao o Te Ata Tu did to the welfare system a generation ago.
His team has been working with Tokona Te raki, the Ngai Tahu Futures Centre at the University of Canterbury on a literature review, as well as drawing on the anti-racism work of the late Professor Manuka Henare.
“So we didn’t want to just say to people ‘here’s the evidence with regards to racism, discrimination and bias, here’s what they mean,’ because part of our challenge is we talk past each other on these things. We’ve got to have a kind of common framing and language of understanding about how these things manifest but at the same time we want to be able to provide a mechan ism or tool to test, which is what we are doing now, to say how can we address this,” Mr Whaanga says.
He says mana tangata means it’s important the health system is fair and treats people with dignity and respect – and that Maori and Pasifika have equitable access and aren’t penalised by racism within the system.